News Feature | December 10, 2013

Grocery And Convenience Store IT News For VARs — December 10, 2013

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By Anna Rose Welch, Editor, Biosimilar Development
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Top Federal IT Initiatives Include Security, Disaster Recovery, Digitizing Records

This week, a survey reveals the industry believes real-time payments could be available by 2018 and Wi-Fi is becoming a c-store fixture.

Real-Time Payments Possible By 2018

CSPnet reports more than 80 percent of financial industry professionals believe that the shift from batch to real-time payments is within sight, citing a survey by ACI Worldwide. Real-time payments, including mobile wallets, are expected to be available across financial services institutions by 2018. However, in order for these payments to be universally available, 77 percent of survey respondents believe banks must remove silos. Rather, responsive, enterprise payment platforms could better enable a financial institution to proceed with real-time, online payments, and mobile innovations. 

Wi-Fi Becoming A Fixture In C-Stores

Convenience Store Decisions discusses the impact of Wi-Fi on convenience store customer service. Of the retailers who have implemented in-store Wi-Fi, some say that free Wi-Fi can encourage customers to spend more time in stores, and ultimately encourage more purchases. The article articulates several key pieces of advice for installing hotspots in stores. Internet guru Brett Stewart says that keeping access points and routers separate will help ensure the expensive PCI (payment card industry)-compliant routers do not need to be replaced in order to update access points. He also notes that it’s important to keep cardholder data environment (CDE) segments small and use segmentation to keep CDE and traditionally “untrusted” network segments — like customer Wi-Fi — separate.

Six Things Your Clients Are Considering About Wi-Fi Implementation

Convenience Store News discusses the six biggest issues c-stores must address when installing public Wi-Fi so as not to compromise data security and customer satisfaction. As is to be expected, security is a number one priority. C-stores must invest in ISP (Internet service provider)-grade firewall, malware, antivirus, anti-spam, and content-filtering solutions to protect customers’ information. To increase the scale of broadband bandwidth, stores will be in the market for solutions that incorporate real-time compression algorithms and create extra virtual bandwidth. Quality of service technologies for point of sale transactions and voice over Internet protocol, etc., will also be necessary. Insufficient installations, lack of a Wi-Fi policy and of future proofing, and inadequate operational planning are also issues c-stores should consider when deliberating about Wi-Fi implementation.

Enhancing Online Coupons Has ROI

Progressive Grocer highlights key findings from a Kantar Media Marx analysis of retailers’ digital coupon initiatives. Both Target and Kroger saw increased traffic on their coupon distribution pages, making them the top two most heavily trafficked coupon distribution pages in the Kantar study. Overall, Kantar Media says that enhancing online coupon offers daily could help a retailer reach shoppers and influence shoppers’ behaviors on the path to purchase. Manufacturers must remain aware of the popular offers online in order to replicate the same success for their own offers.  

Grocery and Convenience Store IT Talking Points

Joseph Bona for Convenience Store News argues that is a strategic imperative that the c-store sector look outside of its channel in order to come up with new and innovative ideas. In particular, he suggests looking to the successful fast-casual chains for ideas on ways to approach traffic flow, presentation, signage, food preparation and distribution.

A recent Reuter’s article discusses some of the differences between online and in-store grocery shoppers. While online grocery shopping is a great time-saver for consumers, magazine, candy, and drinks producers are facing lost sales because online shoppers are less impulsive. In the UK in particular where grocery e-commerce is increasingly popular, more and more shoppers are sticking to their lists and avoiding impulse purchases to save money. According to a representative from the confectionary industry — the area often hit the hardest by non-impulsive shoppers — the online channel is an important outlet for the industry. However, experts say that the chocolate industry in particular needs to change how people buy chocolate, including encouraging more online customers to purchase larger amount of each item.

Laura Walsh for Business 2 Community questions whether abandoning an online grocery cart at the POS is the same as abandoning a grocery cart in the middle of a brick-and-mortar store. She cites a study by Bronto Software and Magento, which revealed that online shopping carts are different from in-store shopping carts. Online carts tend to be used as a place for shoppers to store items in one place and deliberate future purchases. These carts are also often saved for a later time, and quite often, abandoned. Walsh suggests several options e-commerce businesses can perform to bring customers back to their online shopping carts, including reminder emails and discounts on remaining items.

BSMinfo features a pcAmerica guest column "Convenience Stores' Small Footprint Doesn't Mean Small Technology Needs."